My Moms Gyoza, Game 3

Posted by on May 24, 2010 in Beef, Blog, Japanese Cuisine Favorites, Lakers, Popular Posts, Pork | 33 comments

 

How often have I started a blog post with, “I love ____ ! It’s absolutely my favorite childhood food that my mom used to make for us.”

If you’ve been following my blog, I think you would agree that I have a lot of favorite childhoods foods, more than you could count on one hand, and if I really think about this, it’s very hard for me to pick just one food that is my absolute favorite because my mom lovingly made so many delicious foods for us!

So yet another dish that I absolutely cannot live with and love so dearly is my mom’s gyoza.  As a child, I could eat at least 10 of these at one sitting.  Today, I’m positive I can eat more than 10, given last night I made 35 gyoza and between bebe dada and I we ate all but three.  On the childhood favorite foods ranking, gyoza ranks very high at the top, along with mom’s chawan mushi.

Growing up, we ate gyoza regularly, simply served with rice and nori-tamago sumashijiru (post forthcoming). Gyoza night was one of those meals where, for some reason, salad just didn’t compliment the meal. I’m sure my mom made small salads for us, but all I really remember eating is the gyoza, rice, and sumashijiru.  There’s something about a meal of gyoza, a little brown rice, and hot soup that just warms my soul and makes my stomach perfectly happy and content.

After a week of eating lasagna and enchiladas, including leftovers, I was craving Japanese food, specifically, gyoza.  I had all the ingredients at home, with the exception of nira and garlic, but the last time I was at the Korean supermarket I saw Chinese chives and Korean chives, but not nira.  The Chinese chives and Korean chives looked identical, with the exception that the Chinese chives were longer in length, and they both looked very similar to nira but I wasn’t sure if they were all the same.  So before I went grocery shopping, I Googled.

My research uncovered that nira, in English, translates to garlic chives.  This is also known as Chinese chives or Korean chives, but differs from chives as we know them here in America.  Nira, or garlic chives, have a distinct, pungent aroma of garlic when sliced and also in flavor when cooked, more so than American chives.

 

I really enjoy writing my posts on Japanese or other Asian foods because it gives me the opportunity to Google.  (I know, I am a nerd.)  I Googled “gyoza” and discovered that the Japanese potsticker was thought to have originated in the 17th century from China, and the term “gyoza” is derived from the Japanese reading of “Jiaozi”, the mandarin word for dumpling.  :)

While I’ve eaten lots of gyoza over my life time, whether at ramen restaurants in the U.S. or in Japan, even frozen (you name it), what I appreciate most about my mom’s gyoza is that it’s meaty.  Yes, meat-y.  I’m always disappointed when I order gyoza at a restaurant, only to discover that it is mostly cabbage filler, with very little meat.  And you know what, cabbage-filler gyoza is almost as disappointing as when the Lakers lose a basketball game, especially when it’s Game 3 of the Western Championship Finals.  A 118-109 loss against the Suns with Lamar (we’re on a first-name basis with the boys) fouling out, and even worse, it was the end to an 8-game play-off winning streak.

Yes, WOE is me…

There is something about the morning after a Lakers loss that puts me in a serious funk.  Despite the fact that bebe dada and I enjoyed a stellar gyoza dinner, there was no celebrating with Pink Berry for dessert after the game, no happy cheers of, “Yay!  We’re one game closer to the NBA Finals!”  No clapping with bebe E, who recently claps on que when I say, “Yay!”  We just looked at each other and said, “Ok, let’s bathe the bebe and get ready to watch the series finale episode of Lost.”  **Sigh.**  Even Lost was a disappointment, although 3 seasons ago I was somewhat certain they were all… well, you know.

While mom’s gyoza dinner was not celebratory as I hoped it would be, it was delicious nonetheless.  May this recipe bring you a happy stomach, and not another Lakers loss.  :)

Mom’s Gyoza

(makes approximately 135)

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 – 3 cups chopped nira (garlic chives, aka Chinese chives or Korean chives)
  • 1 cup chopped negi (green onions, aka scallion, spring onions
  • 4 -5 garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large clump of ginger, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cabbage, chopped finely
  • 6 – 8 nappa cabbage leaves chopped finely
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 1/2 tablespoon shoyu (soy sauce)
  • a few dashes of salt
  • a few dashes of pepper
  • 2 packs gyoza wrappers
  • Canola oil for pan frying gyoza
  • Water for steaming gyoza

Whenever I make gyoza, I make extra gyoza meat and freeze this, or I’ll wrap the meat to make extra ready-to-cook gyoza and freeze these for a quick lunch or dinner.  The recipe above should easily feed 6 people.

1)  Chop nira, negi, ginger and garlic.  Set this aside.

 

2)  Chop cabbage and nappa cabbage in to very small, fine pieces.  Place in a bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute.  The cabbage should cook slightly, and water will be released.  Place the cabbage in a towel or cheese cloth and squeeze all of the excess water out.

 

3)  In a large bowl, combine the meat, cabbage and chopped ingredients.  Season with sesame oil, soy sauce and a dash of salt and pepper.  I use my hands to mix the meat with all of the vegetables and seasonings.  This is how my mom does it, and it just seems to work better this way.  I mash all the ingredients together with the meat.

 

4)  Set-up your gyoza wrapping station.  :)  My mom uses a big sheet of wax paper and lays this on the table so she can sit while she makes the gyoza.  I definitely recommend sitting, especially if you’re going to be making gyoza for more than just one person.  It takes time until you get the hang of it, and trust me, it’s much more comfortable if you’re seated.  You’ll also need a spoon to scoop the meat, as well as a small bowl of water and a butter knife.

 

 

5)  I like to mass-produce my gyoza in assembly-line fashion.  I feel when I do this, it takes less time to make.  :)  I lay out the gyoza wrappers, place about 1 1/2 teaspoons of the meat mixture in the center of all of the wrappers.

Next, take your butter knife, dip this into the water, and moisten just half of the wrapper along the edge.  I found that using the butter knife, rather than your finger, keeps the gyoza wrapper (and your hands) dry, it’s easier to work with, and overall makes less of a mess.

 

6)  Next, with the moistened half of the wrapper resting on your hand, fold over the half of the wrapper that is not moistened and create folds like a fan.  I usually try to make 5 folds per gyoza.  They look pretty with 5 folds.  :)

 

7)  To make “fan folds” (if you’re right-handed), use your right thumb to make one fan fold at the left-hand corner of your gyoza.

 

Repeat this step to create a few more “fan folds” as you work your way around the gyoza.  As you get towards the center, you might find that you need to press the meat down towards the center using your right middle finger as you create the center “fan fold”.  That’s why I recommend only putting a small amount of the gyoza meat into the wrapper so that it’s easier to seal.

 

Once the gyoza is sealed, I sit the gyoza on the wax paper, press down gently so that the bottom is flattened just a little, then slightly shape the gyoza fan into a curve, like this…  (My apologies if this is confusing!  Bebe dada suggested that I video record the gyoza sealing technique so it would be easier for people to understand.  Unfortunately, recording and then embedding the video into my blog seems a bit technologically advanced for my low-techy-self.)

 

My mom is SUPER fast at wrapping gyoza.  A few weeks ago we were wrapping gyoza together when we visited my parents and she can wrap two of them as I’m barely finishing my first.  Needless to say, practice over time will definitely get you wrapping gyoza quicker AND with pretty results.  Although I’ve gotten faster and my gyoza look better today, when I first started helping my mom wrap these as a kid, they were a mess – tasted good but funky shaped.

 

 

8)  In a large frying pan (with lid), heat generous amount of canola oil over medium heat.  Lay gyoza in the pan, bottom down, and with sufficient space between each.  If you crowd your pan, they will stick together during the steaming process and when you try to pull them apart you risk tearing them open.

If you’ve ever ordered gyoza at a ramen restaurant, you’ll find that they typically only pan fry the bottom of the gyoza, then steam them.  In our family, my dad is the one who cooks the gyoza in the pan, and he browns the gyoza on one or both sides of the gyoza, including the bottom, so that the gyoza has maximum crunchiness all over.  I wish my dad were over so that he could have cooked these for us.

 

9)  After browning the sides of the gyoza, about 2 minutes on each side, pour approximately 1/3 cup of water (enough so there is a generous amount of water on the bottom of the pan) and QUICKLY cover the pan with a lid.  Steam the gyoza for about 3 minutes, or until the water evaporates.

 

Last night, although I was only cooking 35 gyoza, I used 2 frying pans at once to get all of them cooked faster.

Serve gyoza with ponzu sauce. Asian supermarkets also sell gyoza no tare, or gyoza dipping sauce.  The bottle my mom recently gave me has MSG in it, and while I’m against using products that contain MSG, I didn’t want to waste so bebe dada and I mixed the gyoza no tare with ponzu.

 

We also like to season our ponzu and gyoza no tare with chili oil and shichimi togarashi for a little kick.

 

Our delicious gyoza dinner… just shortly before the Lakers lost.  :(

 

 

COME’ON LAKERS, LET’S DO THIS!

Judy | bebe mama


 

My Mom's Gyoza
Author: 
Recipe type: Main, Side Dish
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 - 3 cups chopped nira (garlic chives, aka Chinese chives or Korean chives)
  • 1 cup chopped negi (green onions, aka scallion, spring onions
  • 4 -5 garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large clump of ginger, finely chopped
  • ½ cabbage, chopped finely
  • 6 - 8 nappa cabbage leaves chopped finely
  • 2½ tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2½ tablespoon shoyu (soy sauce)
  • a few dashes of salt
  • a few dashes of pepper
  • 2 packs gyoza wrappers
  • Canola oil for pan frying gyoza
  • Water for steaming gyoza
Instructions
  1. Chop nira, negi, ginger and garlic.  Set this aside.
  2. Chop cabbage and nappa cabbage in to very small, fine pieces.  Place in a bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute.  The cabbage should cook slightly, and water will be released.  Place the cabbage in a towel or cheese cloth and squeeze all of the excess water out.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the meat, cabbage and chopped ingredients. Season with sesame oil, soy sauce and a dash of salt and pepper.  Use hands to mix the meat with all of the vegetables and seasonings.
  4. Set-up your gyoza wrapping station.  Use a big sheet of wax paper and lay this on the table. You'll also need a spoon to scoop the meat, as well as a small bowl of water and a butter knife.
  5. I like to mass-produce my gyoza in assembly-line fashion.  Lay out the gyoza wrappers, place about 1½ teaspoons of the meat mixture in the center of all of the wrappers. Next, take your butter knife, dip this into the water, and moisten just half of the wrapper along the edge. Next, with the moistened half of the wrapper resting on your hand, fold over the half of the wrapper that is not moistened and create folds like a fan.  I usually try to make 5 folds per gyoza.  They look pretty with 5 folds.  :)
  6. To make "fan folds" (if you're right-handed), use your right thumb to make one fan fold at the left-hand corner of your gyoza. Repeat this step to create a few more "fan folds" as you work your way around the gyoza.  As you get towards the center, you might find that you need to press the meat down towards the center using your right middle finger as you create the center "fan fold".  Once the gyoza is sealed, I sit the gyoza on the wax paper, press down gently so that the bottom is flattened just a little, then slightly shape the gyoza fan into a curve.
  7. In a large frying pan (with lid), heat generous amount of canola oil over medium heat.  Lay gyoza in the pan, bottom down, and with sufficient space between each.  If you crowd your pan, they will stick together during the steaming process and when you try to pull them apart you risk tearing them open.
  8. SHORTCUT: If you have a a large table-top teppanyaki pan with lid, use this to cook your gyoza. You can cook almost 40 to 50 at a time. Heat pan to about 250 to 300 F degrees. Spread oil on pan, layout all the gyoza, side by side. Cook until the bottoms of the gyoza are browned, about 4 to 5 minutes. You may need to move the gyoza around the pan if the heat is not distributed evenly to prevent some of the dumplings from burning. Once the dumplings are browned, add about ½ cup of water to the pan, and immediately cover with lid to steam the gyoza. Steam for about 3 minutes or until the water evaporates. Turn down the heat to warming mode. Eat the gyoza tabletop, and the gyoza are always guaranteed hot!
Notes
Makes approximately 135 dumplings. If you are planning to freeze the excess dumplings, I typically pan-fry them first, and then freeze them in packs of 10 for a quick and easy lunch or dinner.

33 Comments

  1. avatar

    A post about gyoza with a Lakers reference thrown in? Count me in (for both gyozas and the Lakers) :) Oh, and your folds look way better than mine. I generally just fold in half because my folds are so wonky :)

    • avatar

      Yay! A fellow Laker fan!!! :)

  2. avatar

    Love, love, love them. Will have to try these. We make easy dumplings at home as well.

  3. avatar

    Ooooohhhhh~~~~~ Yummy, gyoza!! My favorite!! Well, one of my faves! :)

    Wowed me with this one!! LOL

    Bummer about the Lakers, tho! :(

    • avatar

      Yes, such a bummer. I think the Lakers lost because I made Japanese food on game night…

  4. avatar

    These gyoza look wonderful. Nice pictorial too!

  5. avatar

    These look so good! I especially love that last picture. I can almost taste that crispy salty gyoza skin!

  6. avatar

    Hi Judy,

    This dumplings looks amazing. It’s make me mouth water in front of computer at moment. I love dumpling filling with cabbage but my hubby hate cabbage so much so I can’t eat cabbage at home. sigh~~

    Thank you for sharing this great recipe.
    Hope you have a nice day!

    • avatar

      Hi Liv – Thanks so much! I’m flattered by such a nice compliment coming from you! YOUR dumplings look amazing and I still need to try them. It’s still saved in my Foodbuzz recipe box. :)

  7. avatar

    They look SO GOOD Judy!! I was reading the Wagamama cookbook last night and thought about making gyoza. Your ingredients and Wagamama are really close. Your mom is genius! and you did such a great job. I love looking at the finished ones that lined up before frying.

  8. avatar

    Gyoza are best made at home and eaten at home. So fresh and so easy to make.

  9. avatar

    These are beautiful! They are so perfect…can never get them right. Mom knows best. =)

  10. avatar

    So weird — my mom made the enchiladas tonight and last night we made gyoza!!

    Yours look SO delicious. Next time I will try the browning on both sides for maximum crunchiness! 135 – Wowza. We only made 50. I like to freeze mine too, so we can have gyoza at any time in a jiffy.
    Thanks for posting!

  11. avatar

    Ah mom’s food is always the best! those gyoza are amazing, I did have some japanese food cravings today too, so got my fix. Beautiful stuffing! and now I feel like eating gyoza, but of course restaurant ones are not as good as homemade.

  12. avatar

    Oh wow those look like the best gyoza ever! I love the extra crispy look to them. I must try this when I make gyoza next time. Wow!

  13. avatar

    It really IS so hard to pick just one (or two or three) favorite food! Sigh, that’s what’s hard about being in love with good food.

    I LOVE gyoza, but admit to often buying frozen. I had some just last week, actually! I really want to try yours – my kids would love it!

    • avatar

      I admit we buy frozen sometimes too. :) It’s just convenient sometimes when life gets busy and I don’t have any of my own stocked-up in the freezer.

  14. avatar

    These gyozas look wonderful! I have to make lots of them as my boys love them :)

    • avatar

      Thank you! I’m sure they appreciate all your hard work in the kitchen. :)

  15. avatar

    I am bookmarking this authentic recipe! And I will have to hunt down those garlic chives…. :)

  16. avatar

    Judy!! YUM!!!! Thank you! I just made an appetizer this weekend with wonton wrappers and have a ton leftover. Thank you for the recipe! I love your entries :)

  17. avatar

    These are gorgeous! Any suggestions for a veggie filling? My husband who’s an absolute carnivore would love these… we both have a soft spot for dumplings of all kinds!

    • avatar

      Sorry, I forgot to respond to your question! Often times at Japanese ramen restaurants I will order gyoza and discover the majority of it, at least 90% is vegetables (cabbage). Although I’ve never made veggie gyoza, I recommend trying the recipe by increasing the amount of cabbage and nappa cabbage, green onion, garlic chives and or course removing all of the meat. I would also add extra ginger, garlic and soy sauce to add flavor. There are also gyoza wrappers at Asian markets that do not contain egg, if you’re interested. If you try this, please let me know how it turns out. :)

  18. avatar

    Yumm I love Gyoza! I can’t wait to try your recipe since I’ve never made them at home only frozen from the Japanese store. I also enjoyed the little background information, I’m a nerd like that and just love all the stories behind the foods – including how this reminds you of your childhood:)

    • avatar

      Uh oh… You might end-up like me… hating frozen gyoza after you try these. ;)

  19. avatar

    I LOVE your web blog and find different ways I can cook certain dishes. My Mother is starting to lose her memory so when she started to talk about her mothers cooking, I was at a loss. She used to work as a head chef in a Japanese restaurant but now she cant even remember how to make some of the dishes…..So I started to find and learn whatever I could about the old traditional and simple Japanese dishes to make. I am treasuring your Moms receipes and I appreciate you sharing them with us…..However… I am curious as to why would you use bottled gyoza sauce then making your own sauce?
    I love to make my own with shoyu, bran rice vinager and a tsp of yuzu sauce. Is it just convenience or better taste?

    • avatar

      BTW… My mother is 82 and grew up on a farm in Yamagata Pref. She really never cooked to many traditional dishes due to my American realitives who visited us soooo often and didnt care for anything other then Katsu, Tempura, Teriyaki, or Gyoza. So I never got to learn the other Great tasting varity of Japanese dishes.

      • avatar

        Wow, 82! That’s wonderful! My mom often cooked the same dishes you mentioned, but fortunately she also cooked many traditional dishes, likely those she missed eating while growing up in Japan. One of her favorite dishes is curry but that’s not necessarily a traditional Japanese dish. ;) Thanks again for taking the time to leave me comments! I hope to hear from you again. Cheers!

    • avatar

      Thank you for your kind words. I’m sorry to hear about your mom’s memory. My mom suffered an illness a few years ago and she too has difficulty with her memory now but it has primarily affected her shorter-term memory so she still retains her longer term memories, and dishes she cooked for us. I’m glad I’m able to share some of my favorite Japanese dishes with you.

      No, I’ve never made my own gyoza sauce and my mom never did either. Perhaps its out of convenience but also because that’s just what I grew-up with and these are familiar tastes to me. My mom buys the gyoza-no-tare because my dad likes it, but I actually prefer store-bought ponzu sauce (which is a mix of savory and tart, as you probably already know) with dashes of togarashi and ra-yu to spice things up. :)

  20. avatar

    my husband loves gyoza, I make a killer pierogi and I will have to try to make your recipe for him!!! Thank you for sharing this!!

    • avatar

      You’re welcome. Ah, I would love to learn more about your pierogi… :)

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